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China to Hold World's First Geopark Conference

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has decided to hold the world's first geology park conference in Beijing from June 27 to 29, said Shou Jiahua, vice-minister of the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) in Beijing on Thursday.


UNESCO also agreed that the MLR to establish an office in Beijing with a geopark network accessible to the whole world. The network will collect geopark information from Asia-pacific areas and other areas of the world, thus building a database that will facilitate UNESCO to organize and support worldwide geopark construction, Shou said at a press conference.


On Feb. 13, eight Chinese geoparks were approved by UNESCO to be included on the first list of 28 world geoparks.


The eight Chinese geoparks include Shilin Geopark in China's Yunnan Province, featuring a carbonate peak forest landform, which brings about the formation of various karst landscapes, such as stone teeth, corroded gullies and corroded funnels.


Also on the list was Huangshan Geopark in Anhui Province, which is famed for its grand and steep mountains, with 72 peaks of over 1000 meters high. The geopark is picturesque with green and straight pines, jagged rocks of grotesques shapes, wide and imposing cloud sea, as well as many gushing warm springs.


The other six parks are Lushan Geopark in Jiangxi Province, Yuntaishan Geopark and Shongshan Geopark in central China's Henan Province, Danxia Geopark in Guangdong, Zhangjiajie Geopark in Hunan, and Wudalianchi Geopark in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.


To date, China now has altogether 44 national geoparks, due to the country's far-flung territory and complicated geographical features.


(Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2004)


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